The Distribution and Accumulation of Copper in the Bottom Sediments of Loughberry Lake, Saratoga Springs, NY
Noah Novotny, Leah Wohl-Pollack, and Whitney Eliot
Copper sulfate (CuSO4) is commonly used to control the growth of blue-green algae in lakes and reservoirs. Application of CuSO4 leads to the accumulation of copper in bottom sediments of water bodies. Saratoga Springs Water Treatment plant has been applying CuSO4 to Loughberry Lake, the municipal water reservoir, for many decades. This study investigated the concentration of copper within bottom sediments of Loughberry Lake in order to understand how the concentrations are related to historical CuSO4 additions. Concentrations of copper in the bottom sediments range from 2199 µg/g to 3819 µg/g and reflect the manner and technique by which CuSO4 was added. As expected concentrations below 28 cm decrease rapidly, reflecting untreated streambed sediment that existed prior to the damming of Loughberry Lake. Loughberry Lake sediment is considered heavily polluted by Environmental Protection Agency standards and the levels of copper found in this study exceed the Severe Effect Level set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. High concentrations of copper in sediments can negatively impact the ecosystem through biomagnification, bioaccumulation or redistribution to the water column.
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